The Telescuola project has been promoted by the ICT Laboratory of the Piemonte Region – Innovation Department, which has launched, over the years, several initiatives to support the services accessibility for disabled people.
The ongoing project was born from the technological competences gained in the adapting of the internal workstations to the needs of physically impaired people and thanks to the cooperation with CSP. The main idea was to test some ICT based distance learning services, addressed to cases where serious disabling health conditions threaten to create social exclusion problems to pupils in a very sensitive period of their childhood.
For this purpose, an exemplar case of a little child affected by SMA (i.e. Spinal Muscular Atrophy) has been selected within the regional territory to be involved in a first experimentation.
After a first phase of analysis of needs, the main activities have been directed to allow the subject to participate to the scheduled didactical activities in the classroom and also at home, with the collaboration of the support teacher, when health conditions would keep her from being at school.
In particular, besides the realization of a radio broadband connection between schools and the child’s house, thanks to the involvement of her family and relevant local organizations from the educational and the health sector, additional technological devices and tools (videocameras, Digital Whiteboard, VOIP and chat services) have been developed and customized to help the child to effectively participate in the classroom life. The main challenge has been to provide an interactive communication channel, in order to allow not only the visualization, but also her active involvement in the educational and recreational activities, guaranteeing a “personal” contact with her classmates.
Finally, the Telescuola project intends to design and propose a methodology and a model of action to be replicated and extended within other contexts and addressed to different emerging needs. Following the Piemonte Region living lab approach, the project has involved the whole stakeholders chain, in order to raise awareness on the regional territory and in its institutions about the disability theme, while acting also as a valuable support for the inclusion to the families.